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Autumn Color Report 2014
Official autumn color reports by japan-guide.com

Where to see autumn leaves? - When do trees turn colors? - What trees turn colors?
Schedule of upcoming reports - Post your own report

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2014/12/02 - Kamakura Report
by scott

Engakuji

Three months since the start of the autumn season the colors have finally made their way down to Kamakura which is typically one of the last places in Japan to see their leaves change. While the season started off way earlier than average up in Hokkaido, by now it has slowed to the point that the colors are appearing around Kamakura more or less around a more average schedule, if not a little late, around most parts of the city.

My first stop today was to Hokokuji Temple, a Zen temple in eastern Kamakura that is best known for the beautiful bamboo grove that grows behind its main building. While not really expecting to see many colors around the temple, there were actually some nice ginkgoes and maple trees around the front of the temple that were right at their peak and glowing in the morning sun. There were also some maples around caves at the back of the temple, but they were only just beginning to change colors.

Hokokuji Temple
Maples surround a small path to the main hall
Around the temple's thatch roofed bell tower
Maples over the caves

Next I took a long, confusing walk through the residential districts and not very obvious mountain trails to Zuisenji, another Zen temple in the far east of Kamakura. Unfortunately there were not many colors around the temple grounds save the one bright yellow/orange maple behind the main hall. In addition, the approach to the temple can get pretty colorful but was completely green today.

Maple behind Zuisenji's main hall
Green leaves around the old and new approaches to Zuisenji

Next I headed into the network of hiking trails that lead around Kamakura's forested hills via the Shishimai Valley Trail. Though slippery today with mud created over a few recent rainy days, these trails are a good way to see the autumn colors (koyo) in a more natural setting compared to the carefully cultivated views that you typically see around the temples and gardens. The colors higher up the Shishimai Valley were actually very nice today and just around the peak. From the ridge trail there were also occasional views out to the Shonan Coast and to Yokohama in the distance.

The leaves are still pretty green lower down the valley...
...but become more colorful as you climb higher
Yellow ginkgo leaves litter the ground
The colorful canopy
The Yokohama skyline off in the distance
Hikers taking lunch along the Tenen Hiking Trail to Kenchoji Temple

Next I headed over to Kenchoji, the most important among Kamakura's Zen temples. It's considerable grounds stretch all the way up the mountainside from the valley floor, and conveniently the Tenen Hiking Trail passes right by a back entrance to the temple from where many hikers enter the complex. A viewing platform lies right at the entrance, offering views over the temple buildings with the Shonan Coast in the distance. The colors around the temple were mostly still approaching their peak, but were also some of the best that I saw today.

Kenchoji from the viewing platform at its back entrance
There are also several spots from which you can see Mount Fuji
Some of the best colors along the stairs towards the back of the complex
Komainu and bamboo
Another beautiful koyo spot at Kenchoji

My final stop today was to Engakuji, another important Zen temple which is located right across from Kita Kamakura Station. Engakuji has a pretty large grounds with several nice spots to see the autumn colors, especially around the temple entrance, at a garden toward the back of the complex, and at a few smaller temple buildings in between. Today the koyo around Engakuji looked a little more advanced compared to the rest of the Kamakura and even toward the end of peak. But the colors were still nice and worth a visit.

The entrance to Engakuji
The garden area up towards the back of the complex
Fallen maple leaves
Some less advanced maples
A small house on the temple grounds

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List of Posts:
2014/12/05 - Tokyo Report
2014/12/04 - Kanazawa Report
2014/12/03 - Kyoto Report
2014/12/02 - Kamakura Report
2014/11/28 - Kyoto Report
2014/11/27 - Tokyo Report
2014/11/26 - Nara Report
2014/11/25 - Kyoto Report
2014/11/21 - Osaka Report
2014/11/20 - Kyoto Report
2014/11/19 - Korankei Report
2014/11/18 - Miyajima Report
2014/11/18 - Tokyo Report
2014/11/17 - Kyoto Report
2014/11/14 - Kyoto Report
2014/11/14 - Himeji Report
2014/11/13 - Fuji Report
2014/11/13 - Tokyo Report
2014/11/12 - Eiheiji Report
2014/11/11 - Kyoto Report
2014/11/07 - Tokyo Report
2014/11/07 - Kyoto Report
2014/11/06 - Yamadera Report
2014/11/04 - Fuji Report
2014/11/04 - Hakone Report
2014/10/31 - Karuizawa Report
2014/10/29 - Shima Onsen Report
2014/10/24 - Fuji Report
2014/10/21 - Bandai Report
2014/10/21 - Nikko Report
2014/10/20 - Towada Report
2014/10/16 - Tateyama Report
2014/10/15 - Kurikoma Report
2014/10/08 - Nasu Report
2014/10/07 - Nikko Report
2014/10/01 - Oze Report
2014/09/29 - Tateyama Report
2014/09/26 - Nikko Report
2014/09/19 - Tokachidake Report
2014/09/18 - Kurodake Report
2014/09/17 - Asahidake Report

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